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I was born into a British working-class family in Scarborough, Yorkshire. I have an elder brother and sister. We were brought up in what is now called a single-parent family. Our mother was a waitress. When she died, we kids went off in different directions. Not choice, it just happened. After something of a chaotic period I ended up with foster parents living in Darwen, Lancashire, aged eleven. They took me with them when they moved to Manchester.
At the age of twelve I was offered an interview for a place in the Manchester High School of Art, a specialist junior art school in the normal secondary system. A place had become available because a pupil had climbed into the building next door for a bet with his mates. It was Strangeways Prison. So he was kicked out of the school, poor kid. I was lucky enough to get his place. (I found out about these circumstances later, through the child-care system, and many years later I met the expellee who confirmed it!)
A few of us from the High School went to St.Martins College of Art in London, England. At the time it was renowned as the best undergraduate art school in Britain. I'm not sure I learnt a lot at St.Martins. It had and has a terrific reputation, upon which many of the Fine Art staff rested very comfortably. I remember at least a couple of staff who said that artists were born and it, art, could not be taught. Which begged the question in my mind, 'then why are you drawing a salary?'
For a few years after leaving college I worked in various occupations; painter, muralist, carpenter, songwriter, music producer, to name a few. Throughout this time I was painting, and finding my way. Whilst working in education, I eventually became the Head of School in a large Creative Arts Department, in a London College. Subsequently I left to paint full-time, which is what I do now.
I was elected to the Royal Cambrian Academy on 24th April 2010.